During the winter recess, the Human Resources Department including Benefits will remain open with limited staffing and hours to serve you. Please contact us during the open hours if any issues occur that need immediate attention.
UPMC Health Plan Member Services also will be available during the winter recess. Their hours are listed below:
Generally, you can expect the other carriers to be closed on December 25 and January 1. Additionally, most will have limited hours or be closed on December 24 and December 31.
Shingles is a painful skin rash. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus. Shingles usually appears in a band, a strip or a small area on one side of the face or body.
According to Web MD, shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.
Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chicken pox reactivates in your body. After you get better from chicken pox, the virus is dormant in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus “wakes up” when disease, stress or aging weakens the immune system.
Anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles. You have a greater chance of getting shingles if you are older than 50 or if you have a weak immune system.
There is a shingles vaccine for people who are 50 years and older. This lowers your chances of getting shingles and prevents the long-term pain that can occur after shingles. If you do get shingles, having the vaccine makes it more likely that you will have less pain and your rash will clear up more quickly.
The University’s Health Plan covers the shingles vaccine. Since this is a preventative measure, it is at no out-of-pocket cost to you. As always, check with your physician.
Last Opportunity to Submit Flexible Spending Account Claims
Do you have a balance in your spending account for the July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012 account?
Do you have dependent day care expenses that were incurred during this period of time?
Do you have any health care related expenses that were incurred between July 1, 2011, and September 15, 2012?
You have until December 31, 2012, to submit expenses against your spending account that ended on June 30. File your claims now to avoid the loss of any funds remaining in your account. The Benefits Department, in accordance with Internal Revenue Code, is not permitted to grant extensions for any Plan Year 2012 expenses submitted after December 31, 2012.
You can view your claims history, submit claims online and obtain claim forms by accessing your MyFlex Advantage account online. Remember, you have single sign-on access through my.pitt.edu. Simply select UPMC Health Plan from the Resources Tab and follow the links. Any questions regarding your flexible spending account should be referred to UPMC Health Plan at 1-888-499-6885.
New Year’s Resolutions
It is no surprise that weight loss is the most frequently cited resolution for the new year. Other resolutions include getting organized, spending less, saving more, enjoying more time with family and quitting smoking.
According to Forbes Magazine, resolutions do not often stick. To make resolutions stick:
- You need to have a plan.
- Remember the reasons you are doing it.
- Plan for setbacks.
- Make sure you have a strong support network.
- Do not take on too much too fast — be realistic.
- Be accountable to someone.
- Make sure your goals are important.
- Do not be afraid of success.
Weight Watchers once again will be offered on campus starting in January. They will be offering a 12- week program. The success of their members includes many of the reasons listed above. Details of the program will be forthcoming in January.
Keep in mind that health coaching also is available to UPMC Health Plan members at no cost. If your goal is weight loss, developing an exercise program, quitting smoking or generally trying to develop a healthier lifestyle, the health coach can help. Again, they can be part of your support system and help you develop a plan, overcome setbacks and assist in holding you accountable. You can contact a health coach by calling UPMC Health Plan at 1-800-807-0751.
TIAA-CREF and Vanguard are available to support you if your goals include saving more and spending less to create a stronger financial position for retirement. Their contact information is listed in the newsletter.
Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!
Important Vendor Contact Information
Office hours: 8 am-5 pm EST, 320 Craig Hall
412-624-8160 (Main Line) • 412-624-3485 (Fax)
Please visit our web site for FAQs, downloadable forms and other benefits information.
UPMC Health Plan
United Concordia 1-877-215-3616
Davis Vision 1-800-999-5431
Flexible Spending Accounts